spotlight on china. hundreds of foreign journalists are in beijing for the communist party's congress, trying to cover a high-profile political transition that is playing out behind closed doors. welcome to nhk world "newsline." top leaders and officials from across china spent the day mapping out where their country will go over the next five years. the communist party's congress is now well under way. the political transition is both highly controlled and highly secretive. delegates discuss, debate, and make deals. and in the end, they unveil the next generation of leaders who would take power.
the 18th congress of the chinese communist party opened thursday. it happens every five years. between now and next week, representatives will be approving new policies and appointing new party leaders. delegates from each of china's provinces held regional discussions friday. they went over the issues they're concerned about and talked about ways to fix the problems they face. nhk world's james tengan is in beijing covering the congress. he told us more about the main players in china's transition of power. >> reporter: we've got an idea who will head up china's next generation of leaders. we've heard their names before, xi jinping and li keqiang. and we'll be hearing them for years to come. they'll be chosen for top communist party posts next week and unveiled to the world. analysts say xi will become general secretary, taking over for president hu jintao.
chinese vice president xi jinping is 59 years old. communist party leaders named xi vice chairman of the central commission in 2010. xi's taken an active role in diploma city as well as domestic affairs. >> xi jinping's pather was a vice premier, so xi became part of china's informal princeling network. princelings gain power by taking advantage of their parents and status and ties to influential fingers. but xi didn't have it easy. authorities ousted his father and jailed him during the cultural revolution. xi was forced to work in the countryside as a teenager. he went to a prestigious
university in beijing from 1975 to 1979. and then he spent the next quarter century holding down key positions in the communist party and the government in shanghai and two other provinces. xi gained domestic and international prominence in 2007. he skipped the stage of politburo member and went straight into the politburo's standing committee. xi's wife is a well-known figure in her own right. peng liyuan is a popular singer in the troupe belonging to the people's liberation army. analysts say her star status and support from the military has helped xi's career. xi has spent the last couple of years cementing his position as successor to president hu jintao. he visited the u.s. in early 2012 to promote relations.
his counterpart, vice president joe biden, was with him for much of the five-day visit. >> xi showed that on some issues the two governments will not necessarily see eye to eye. xi will likely be joined at the top by li kequiang, the man widely expected to become china's next premier. li became a member of the politburo standing committee in 2007. he skipped the stage of politburo member during the communist party convention along with xi jinping. li became vice premier in 2008.
li keqiang is 57 years old. he's currently in charge of domestic economic policy. >> li studied law at the prestigious beijing university, where he went on to get a ph.d. in economics. his classmate told us li also dedicated himself to studying english. he says the man who will become china's premier showed no sign he would become a politician. >> i think every single day he got a lot of tickets in his pocket. in one side, he would write english, another side, chinese together.
start out like this. and every day he read this, so i have no clue as to what will be the future after law school. i thought that he would be a very good professor for economicings law. >> he joined china's communist party in 1976, and he devoted himself to the party's communist youth league after graduating from university. go toufu met li in 1985. li was visiting japan as a member of the joint association of youth organizations. he was vice president of the 100-member delegation. china's outgoing leader hu jintao was president. go welcomed them all to his chinese restaurant in tokyo. >> translator: li keqiang looked
a little rough compared to hu jintao. hu was good looking. but i spoke with li and felt that he was as compassionate as hu. >> hu's support is said to have helped li rise through the ranks of the communist youth league and the party. >> translator: li always seemed to take a back seat to president hu jintao. it might seem inappropriate to say, but li looked as if he obeyed hu unconditionally. >> reporter: li became the party chief of hunan province in 2002. two years later, he won the same position in yaoming province. at the time, he said he was doing everything he could to help people become better off.
>> reporter: so there's a look at the careers of xi jinping and li keqiang. now let's find out how they made it to the top of china's power structure. here's part of my conversation with akio takahara of the university of tokyo. he specializes in modern chinese politics. xi jinping is said to be sensible and level headed. what is your assessment of him? >> he has been a very careful crowned prince not to show what's really in his mind. and he's been behaving very carefully and prudently. certainly, he must be a very capable administrator. he was a leader in the coastal provinces like shanghai, which all have been doing very well in recent years. so that part of his capacity was appreciated. he was a princeling, and a lot of the party elders apparently thought that he was a very trustworthy person because, you
know, he's the son of this revolutionary man that can be trusted. so all these factors i think played a positive role in making him the next leader. >> reporter: li keqiang is expected to succeed wen jiabao and become china's number two leader. what's your assessment of him? >> the communist youth league connection is very strong. so if you do become a member of the top leadership of the china -- the communist youth league, then in a sense your future is promised because all of your elders who have been in your post will look after you, and then next comes his personal capabilities. he's said to be a very clever person. his cleverness was outstanding from his university days.
however, what his personalities are, once again, is not well-known. >> reporter: both leaders worked in rural areas when they were young, and both have strong patrons backing them. many analysts expected li keqiang to surpass xi jinping in 2007 because president hu jintao supported him. but xi managed to outmaneuver li at the last party congress. he emerged in sixth place in the politburo standing committee, just ahead of li. professor takahara tells us how he did it. >> hu jintao failed to put li keqiang, his favorite, in the position to succeed himself in 2007 because all the forces were against hu jintao and the communist youth league camp. they got together.
xi jinping was somebody that all the anti cyl forces could agree on. he has experienced being a county leader in a rather poor country. that sort of experience of hardship and knowledge about the poor peasants, that helped hu jintao to accept his defeat. >> reporter: that was part of my conversation with university of tokyo's akio takahara, who specializes in modern chinese politics. and that wraps up our coverage of the communist party congress for this day. i'm james tengan in beijing. southeast asia is the destination of u.s. president barack obama's first official trip since the election. the white house announced on thursday that president obama will visit southeast asia from november 17th to the 20th.
the itinerary includes stops in thailand, cambodia, and myanmar, making him the first u.s. president to visit the formerly reclusive country. nhk world's jun kobayashi has more. >> reporter: just a few years ago, a visit by a u.s. president to myanmar was unthinkable. but that is changing as the former military regime continues reforms following years of isolation. now president obama is set to make a landmark trip to the country, following up on the u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton's visit last year. president obama plans to meet with president thein sein and opposition leader aung san suu kyi. the government of myanmar is bolstering democratization and economic reforms. obama's visit could be seen as a sign of approval of the efforts. but he is also expected to encourage politicians to do more to achieve their goals.
the u.s. president is also scheduled to attend the east asia summit in cambodia to talk about disputes between china and member countries including vietnam, as the islands in the south china sea likely to be taken up for discussion at the summit. obama is expected to join asean members in the call for china to establish the code of conduct to peacefully resolve the disputes. such an appeal would certainly provide asean with leverage for the tough goal of winning china's agreement. the obama administration shifted diplomatic and security policies last year, placing greater emphasis on the asia-pacific region in view of china's growing clout. the planned trip will be an opportunity for southeast asian countries to assess whether u.s. focus is likely to remain on the
region during the obama's second term. jun kobayashi, nhk world, bangkok. pakistan is showcasing state-of-the-art weapons and military equipment at a technology fair as it steps up its anti-terrorism efforts. pakistan is a major world importer of arms, and china is eager to boost sales in the country. pakistani government is hosting the fair in karachi where 130 military-related companies from 21 countries gathering to show off their wares. china is a key weapons provider for pakistan and is operating a pavilion at the fair to promote its businesses. a company official attending event says china can provide all the equipment the pakistani military needs to conduct counterterrorism operations. pakistan is collaborating with china to develop military equipment. the code developed jf-17 fighter plane is also on display at the exhibition.
>> have all capabilities of a modern fighter airplanes which are available in other airplanes, as well, but very high cost. this is very economical, uses the right economic power, and also easy to maintain. >> the fair is also a forum for pakistan to promote its own weapons such as tanks, missiles, and fighter planes to countries in the middle east and africa. the united states has lodged a protest with iran after several iranian warplanes attacked a u.s. military drone. the pentagon says the attack occurred last thursday in international air space over the persian gulf. >> unarmed, unmanned, u.s. mq1 aircraft conducting routine surveillance over the iranian gulf was intercepted by iranian su-25 aircraft and was fired upon with guns. >> little says the iranian jets fired at least twice at the drone but failed to hit it.
the u.s. believes the pilots intended to shoot the aircraft down. he says the u.s. uses drones for reconnaissance in accordance with international rules and that the country will continue to conduct such flights. the obama administration has intensified its surveillance of iran. it has also stepped up economic sanctions. the actions are part of efforts to pressure iran to suspend its nuclear development program. analysts say the attack on the drone reflects iran's growing frustration over the u.s. actions. the man who shot u.s. congresswoman gabrielle giffords in the head and killed six people has been sentenced to life in prison. the shooting rampage took place in january last year in the state of arizona. jared lee loughner shot democratic congresswoman gabrielle giffords in the head as she was addressing local supporters in tucson. he also killed six people, including a child.
the court ruled that loughner was mentally ill but legally competent at the time of the crime. it sentenced him to seven consecutive life sentences and 140 years in prison. giffords, who retired as congresswoman since the incident, attended the sentencing with her husband. two major japanese automakers, toyota motor and mazda motor, are expanding their business alliance, this time abroad. they have agreed to produce a toyota brand car at mazda's plant in mexico. the companies have announced that they will make 50,000 subcompact cars a year at a plant mazda is now building in central mexico. production is scheduled to begin around the summer of 2015. toyota plans to sell the cars in north america. a new design based on mazda's demio model will be used for this new car.
toyota will pay for part of the necessary production equipment and also shoulder some development costs. with the agreement, toyota aims to strengthen its lineup in north america. mazda on its part is hoping to ramp up production efficiency at the new plant and improve its profitability. the two firms had earlier joined hands to produce a hybrid car in japan. japanese steelmakers have reported sharp profit declines in their first half of their business year. that's due to flagging overseas demand and increasing competition from china and south korea. three steel companies said although they managed to stay in pln areerianptx they are nippon steel corporation,umommesto n another maker, kobe steel, swung in t
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finally, a story about an unlikely relationship between a monkey and a cat. a female baboon at a zoo in israel recently became the adoptive mother of a stray kitten. the kitten somehow wandered into the baboon's cage, and the animals have been living together ever since. they seem to get on well. video footage shows the baboon embracing and grooming the kitten and pulling it back when it tries to leave. in fact, she rarely lets it out of her sight. but the relationship comes at a cost. the baboon often steals the kitten's food. zoo officials say if she continues to do so, they will have no choice but to separate the two friends. we'll be back with more updates in 30 minutes. i'm gene otani in tokyo. from all of us here at nhk world, thanks very much for joining us. have a great day wherever you are.